Thursday, September 13, 2012

FAQ #1. Why does it matter if a prejudice is tribal or racial?

A. When prejudice is tribal, humans are different but equal; when prejudice is racial, humans are different and unequal. The practical consequence is most obvious with slavery. Where slavery was tribal, as it was with the Romans and Native Americans, the children of slaves were usually free, and sometimes could rise to positions of great power. Where slavery was racial, as with the North Americans, the children of slaves were assumed to be slaves.

This understanding of tribe and race changed tragically with the Cherokee, who once saw the world in tribal terms, but have now expelled from their tribes the descendants of slaves, even when a descendant was more ethnically Cherokee than some of the tribe's racially Cherokee members.